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A New Tool to Help Local Businesses and the “Gig” Economy.

Avatar photo by Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator | September 16, 2020

Emporia Main Street communicates with other similar programs far outside of our region on a fairly consistent basis. Our emphasis on finding “like” communities, or areas that were once like our region but successfully adapted to new models is important in our efforts to generate sustainable economic growth. If we simply tried to do what other towns were implementing within a two hour drive, we would look inauthentic and hurt both communities efforts. Through our relationship with the National Main Street Center, and relationships we have developed with other community based economic and community development organizations over the years, we study and “bank” programs that could be used if needed by our local businesses.
The newest “need” from local businesses that has been communicated to us over the past several weeks is labor. Some businesses are looking for full time staff, some part time employees, and some entities are looking for more “gig” or “side hustle” style contract laborers that can accomplish a specific task. The three types of listings are vastly different, and the “gig” style contract laborer requires some connection work that may be atypical for most traditional business labor searches.
Full time and part time job searches should include clear information about responsibilities, educational requirements/experience, hours, and pay. The search for employees should also include information about the business, what you do, your culture, and the type of individual that you are looking for as a good “fit” in the business.
When businesses need someone that is artistic to hand draw a sign or design a window display, someone to offer basic social media help, a person to shoot a safety video, some extra muscle to move items/build displays, or the thousand other little jobs that need done on occasions at local businesses, how do you find people? This process is a little different, because we need to create an “ask” from businesses, and a “bullpen” of individuals that can temporarily fill specific skill sets.
So, what do we need from you? Below you will see three different links to intake form drafts. One for full/part time employment, one for business asks for contract “gig” labor, and one for individuals that have specific skills that may be conducive to “gig” based employment. We need you to click on each link and look through the forms to offer suggestions that meet your business needs. Send any suggestions for changes to Emporia Main Street at [email protected] . Once your suggestions have been logged, we will convert the intakes to fillable forms on our www.emporiamainstreet.com website. Once the forms are complete, we will post relevant information on our website and replicate the information through this email and social media.
Full Time and Part Time Employment
Businesses looking for contract laborers
Contract laborers with skills marketable to local businesses

Provide feedback for questions asked through intake forms.
This is a passive search mechanism, meaning we aren’t going to set up employment booths or actively reach out as an employment agency. We have local employment agencies that do that sort of work already, and they are frankly better at those activities than what this initiative is designed to do. We are simply adding an avenue for smaller employers to coalesce employment data in a centralized spot. We are also generating a new platform for small contract jobs that employers may have, and connecting those jobs with talent within the area that may be looking for a “side hustle”. Eventually, the completion of the Fabrication Lab will allow us to find additional talent in specific skill sets that will allow existing businesses to grow, and may result in more entrepreneurial activities that convert side hustles into full time businesses.

About the Author

Jessica Buchholz, Events Coordinator

Jessica Buchholz is the Community Development Coordinator for Emporia Main Street in Emporia, Kansas. She specializes in event planning, volunteer recruitment, alternative marketing, media/public relations and fundraising. During Jessica's tenure at Emporia Main Street, she has helped grow events to an international level and she has created a series of new activities to meet organizational goals.